Even though technology offers a lot, there are still things that people can do without using it. An example is what these schools are trying to do and accomplish.
Local high schools located in a prefecture of Japan situated in the Tohoku region of northern Honshu, Akita Prefecture, gather its students every summer for a marvelous and inspiring purpose – to teach them how to fix second hand wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are then sent to people needing them overseas.
Tomoki Inoue joined the project for the first time. The junior student from a public school located in Omagari, along with other students started cleaning and changing the tires on the wheelchairs. This batch of wheelchairs will be delivered this fall to Sri Lanka, a small island country situated south of India.
Though it’s his first time to take part in such project, Inoue is already conscious of the many hurdles and trials differently-abled people face every day of their lives. That’s because his father is a wheelchair user. He yearns to know how to put the parts of a wheelchair together or somehow fix one so he could help his dad as well as other people across the globe that are in need of a mobility device.
Taira Suzuki, another high schooler who took part in the project, said that he has no idea about the difficulties and struggles wheelchair users go through since childhood or since the day they were told they need to use a wheelchair. However, he still wants to lend a hand for the project so that in some way, he can give joy and support to those in need of the wheelchairs.
In the past 10 years, high schoolers from Akita already cleaned, fixed and sent over 300 wheelchairs. These wheelchairs were delivered to medical and nursing facilities overseas. Countries that benefited from their efforts include Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The project began when a university professor in Tochigi Prefecture, Sujinda Izumida, suggested the idea of giving help and support to people needing wheelchairs. The Thai-native professor knew that in Thailand, there are a lot of differently-abled individuals who cannot afford even a conventional wheelchair.
So she began the initiative by asking help and assistance from the industrial high schools in Japan to fix wheelchairs manufactured locally. Since these wheelchairs are lighter, they are easier to clean and repair and somehow simpler to operate.
A group of students from Kanagawa Institute of Technology, Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata City, volunteered to supervise and guide the repairing of the second-hand wheelchairs. Students from other schools also gave their time and effort to make the project a success as they aim to provide the help needed by differently-people overseas each year.